Thursday, May 23, 2013

Don't Sleep and Drive

Parents...before you allow your children to get their driver's license please explain to them the difference between health insurance and auto insurance.  You will be doing your entire community a huge favor.

Yesterday morning at 4:45 am I was woken up by the sound of a car accident.  I jumped out of bed, looked out the window and saw a man get out of his car and walk back down the street.  I went to another window overlooking the front of the house.  I watched the man walk up to my minivan, look at it, and then walk back to his car.  I threw on a sweat shirt and slippers, grabbed my phone, and headed for the front door.  I got out front and the neighbors across the street were already out there and had called the police.  I went back in to wake up my sleeping husband.  (I'm not sure why I didn't think to do this before I headed outside)  Apparently the kid had fallen asleep at the wheel and side swiped my car.  He tried to take off but his car was no longer drive-able.  When the cops showed up and asked him for his insurance information, he handed them a copy of his Blue Cross Blue Shield card.  Now...I've thought this through quite a bit.  Could he have been trying to be funny?  Maybe he thought giving the officer his health insurance card would actually trick the officer into taking that information?  He couldn't possibly have thought the officer actually wanted his health insurance information, right?  He couldn't actually be that stupid?  Well, the kid's future isn't looking too bright.  He's already had a DUI, been caught driving on a suspended license three times, had a warrant out for his arrest, and totaled my car without having any insurance to pay for it.  The biggest bummer of all... we have only liability coverage.  We will have to pay out of pocket to fix the car or buy a new one.  None of those are a good option when we're about to put our life's savings down on a house and we need to buy appliances and furniture.  Thank God for my husband who can fix anything.  He will spend the next several days locating the parts needed to get the car drive-able.  He will have to replace the rear axle.  We'll have to live with the body damage.  It looks ugly but all we really need is a car that's safe and fits the entire family.  John better get that minivan fixed before we both need to be somewhere at the same time.

About a month ago I started having headaches.  I mentioned the headaches to my oncologist.  He said he thought they were probably stress related and he wanted me to try to reduce my stress and see if it helped the headaches.  Well, the headaches haven't gone away.  When I get them, I freak myself out.  I focus on what I'm experiencing and I start thinking about metastasis to the brain.  I try to convince myself that they are just tension headaches from stress.  I mean... I do have a lot going on right now and the headaches did get a whole lot worse yesterday after my car was crashed into and I started to think about the financial ramifications of not having uninsured motorist coverage.  I told my oncologist the headaches have not gotten any better and now the brain MRI is scheduled.  June 6.

We will get the keys to our house on May 31, the day before my 34th birthday.  We will need to baby proof first thing.  Zeke is a mischievous little monkey.  He is crawling now and I'm certain he is going to be a climber before I know it.  He already wants to pull himself up on everything.  I yelled at him for the first time the other day.  He had crawled over to the fireplace and was trying to pull himself up on the bricks.  I was across the room and yelled, "NOOOOOOOOO!"  Poor little guy.  I think I traumatized him.

I am looking forward to having a big party in our new home.  I want to invite everyone who has supported me through this past year.  I am so appreciative of all the support and love you have all provided.  Expect to receive and invitation by email, by facebook, or by mouth.  I can guarantee that I will not be sending out formal invites by mail.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Big Headed Baby

This past week has been very full.  Zeek hit some big mile stones this past week.  He learned how to clap and he is just the cutest little clapping boy.  Yesterday he learned how to push himself up off the floor into a sitting position.  Today he learned how to pull himself up on the coffee table to a standing position.  He will be 7 months old in one week and he is getting way too big way too quickly.  Today he also started saying, "Dada".  

Zeek had his MRI on Thursday.  They had the results ready that same night.  The pediatrician said, "His brain is perfect.  He just has a big head, so expect great things from him in college."  The best news ever!  

Here's a video of the little guy from last week. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Off the Charts

Today I received a call from the doctor and the first words out of his mouth were, "I received the results of the head ultrasound. We didn't find a tumor."  Despite the fact that those words are great to hear, they are not words I was expecting to hear.  I hadn't even considered cancer to be a possibility.

Zeek had his 6 month check up this past Monday.  He is reaching all of his mile stones and even advanced in some areas.  He is strong... so strong that the doctor couldn't complete his exam of Zeek's hips because of his leg strength.  Zeek is off the charts for his height, weight, and head circumference.  His head is growing at an accelerated rate and the doctor wanted to do an ultrasound to make sure everything is okay.  He wasn't too concerned about it because everyone in the family has large heads.  He also wanted to have the ultrasound done now while it's still possible.  They can only do head ultrasounds on infants while they still have their soft spot on the top of their head.  If they wait until the soft spot has closed an MRI has to be done and the baby has to be sedated.  So the 6 month check up consisted of impressive remarks about his development and his strength, 4 shots, and an order for a head ultrasound.  I got home and immediately printed out the CDC's growth charts and plotted out Zeek's stats from his 2, 4, and 6 month check ups.  Here they are:

Zeek's height and weight stats.
Zeek's head circumference at the top.
 So he's off the charts for everything.  He's a big ol' boy.  That's to be expected when your mom is 5'11" and your dad is 6'8".  I really wasn't worried about the ultrasound at all.  I took him in on Tuesday for the ultrasound.  They said it would take a couple days for the doctor to get the report.  This morning I called because I hadn't heard anything yet.  The doctor returned my call and now we're back to how the conversation began.  He said, "I received the results of the head ultrasound. We didn't find a tumor but there was mild dilation of the lateral ventricles."  And that is the point in the conversation where I scrambled to ask the right questions in order to have enough information so that I don't go searching for information on the internet that leaves me scared to death.  The problem is... I'm ignorant on this subject.  So that leaves me to ask questions which will have answers that I do not understand as well.  The rest of the conversation went something like this:
"What would cause that?"
"It could just be nothing or it could be hydrocephalus."
"If it is hydrocephalus, what would cause that and how would you treat it."
"There are many things that can cause hydrocephalus.  We will need to do an MRI.  He will need to be sedated.  Hydrocephalus is a build up of fluid in the brain."
There was more to this conversation.  This is really all that I remember other than the mention of a shunt being used to drain the fluid from his brain.  This conversation took place while I'm sitting at the table feeding this beautiful, ravenous little sumo baby a bowl full of green beans and rice cereal.  I'm sitting there looking at him unable to really process what is going on.  He is perfect.  He is healthy.  He had a bazillion ultrasounds during pregnancy that showed that his brain was perfect.  He went through chemo in utero and he's perfect... He went through chemo... CRAP!  What if it's my fault... Okay that's stupid.  The doctor's said that chemo cannot cause birth defects... what if it caused something else...what if... and that's when the tears started flowing.

Next week I will get a call to let me know when the MRI is scheduled.  They have to consult with the Pediatric Anesthesiologist first to make sure he's available.  I assume it will be scheduled for later in the week which will be good because I can't go if it's during my radiation time.  I'll be finished with radiation on Tuesday.  Woo-stinkin-hoo.  Yes, that was said with all the sarcasm I can muster right now.  I've been in treatment for cancer for over a year now.  April 26th was my Cancerversary or whatever they call it.  I thought I would be excited to be finished with treatment but I just feel like... big freakin' deal.  Now I can get back to living life without the excuse of a crappy immune system or burned skin to keep me from doing the things that need to be done.

Burns... radiation burns.  I was doing well.  My skin was holding up great until it stopped holding up well and I was no longer doing great.  It happened so quickly.  My armpit and my ribs hurt in a way that is hard to explain.  I can explain the part about the skin.  That's easy.  I will just say that there is an open wound and they have given me cream that is used on 3rd degree burn patients.  The tissue hurts all the way to the bone.  It is bad enough pain to keep me from sleeping at night which is why I have been prescribed pain meds.

This is my armpit when the skin first started to open up.  It actually has gotten a lot worse since this picture was taken.

I have actually been feeling pretty good except for the past couple weeks when the pain from the burns started to get bad.  I need to write my next post when I haven't had such a hard day.  I'm tired of sounding defeated because I don't feel defeated.  I take that back.  Today I feel defeated.  Today was the 4th day of my husband being out of town on business.  Today was my 33rd radiation treatment.  Today I was given news that my precious baby boy needs an MRI and there is the possibility of something being wrong.  Today I am emotionally exhausted.  It has been a long year.

Zeek on his 6 month birthday.  Ephraim dressed him up as a pirate.

Zeek bathing in a too-small-sink.